In 2018 we first heard word that the critically acclaimed and fan-favorite Avatar: The Last Airbender series was being adapted into live-action with Netflix. Fans were excited, especially since original creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino were attached as showrunners and executive producers. Konietzko and DiMartino were public about how Netflix was committed to honoring their visions for the show and all seemed right.
However, it’s been two years and little has been heard about the series. While pre-production can take a long time fans had started to wonder what the hold up was. In a shocking turn of events, Konietzko and DiMartino both announced through their own Instagram and website respectively that they’d no longer be working on the live-action series.
While they didn’t give specific details, they both made it clear that Netflix didn’t live up to its promise of honoring their visions. Konietzko stated that “the general handling of the project created what I felt was a negative and unsupportive environment.”
He clarified this wasn’t just about them not getting their way, they were both open to collaboration and changes, but what was being asked of them meant that they would, “not be able to meaningfully guide the direction of the series.”
DiMartino described the decision as “the hardest professional decision I’ve ever had to make, and certainly not one that I took lightly, but it was necessary for my happiness and creative integrity.”
The show hasn’t been cancelled and Netflix will seemingly move on without the two. Konietzko stated there are “wonderfully talented people who are still working on the series, someone of whom Mike and I personally hired.”
This is a huge blow to the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series. One of the only major ATLA projects that Konietzko and DiMartino didn’t have a direct hand in was the live-action movie and well… we all know how that turned out.
DiMartino also expressed his hope the team that was still on the show could make something worthwhile. However, he stressed that “whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make.”
There’s still potential for the series to have some merit, so we aren’t totally giving up on the idea of a live-action ATLA show just yet, but it clearly has a long road ahead of it.